By Lisa Meade
“Every time a woman passes a mirror and criticizes herself, there’s a girl watching…” ~ Gloria Steinem
Often, we women as a role model for the young women and girls in our lives feel powerless as we struggle with our own body issues and acceptance. Yet, we are not unaware of the impact we can have on her developing self-image.
The one thing I have learned over the years, whether it be in parenting my own daughters or in working with other women, is that our children see everything. When we skip a meal, complain about our cellulite, compare and critique other women’s bodies or say disrespectful comments about our own body, it is witnessed and taken in.
These young girls watch us as we look in the mirror at our reflection.
They hear us talking to others about our body dissatisfaction; they listen to how we receive compliments; they are aware of how we feel about our bodies.
Knowing this, it is important that we recognize we need to change the way we are responding to our thoughts and self-talk. We need to remember that our daughters see themselves through the mirror of our eyes. What we draw attention to about our bodies sends very strong messages to them about theirs. What we show them we value, whether it be a certain size, an age, or a hair color for example, will be what they begin to use as their value system.
If physical appearance is important to us, it will be to them.
What does it mean? It means creating healthy boundaries between our own personal process with our body acceptance—what we say and how we react in these body standards. Positive self-talk will be witnessed and embraced. Presenting a focus on other attributes that are not beauty related and have nothing to do with appearance will change where she places value and will stay with her for life.
It takes time, it takes awareness, but in order to change the pattern of repetitive low self-worth and body shame, we have to start somewhere.
There will still be plenty of messages passed on to our daughters about their beauty and their body through media and peers, but if our conversations with them focus on all that makes them so wonderful and unique, things will begin to change. If we can model to them acceptance and grace with our bodies, celebrate how our bodies serve us and have an appreciation of all body types, the message will be loud and clear.
So where to begin?
For starters, stop talking and talking and talking about the latest diet or how much we hate what we weigh or look like. Try to send good healthy messages about our bodies through words and activities. Stop the negative talk about our bodies or anyone else’s. Listen to the way she talks about her body and have conversations with her to help her see it from a more positive perspective or help her to share why she feels that way.
Making some of these changes in our relationships with our bodies and with our daughters, we will begin to see changes both in our body awareness and in her developing self-concept of her body image and her beauty.
Lisa Meade is a visionary and ritualist. She brings her skills and insight to her shamanic and spiritual offerings. Having received her PhD in Natural Health along with her shamanic training and her practice as a devout Vegan, Lisa brings a very holistic perspective to her community and practice. She is an avid writer and her Spirit Blog is enjoyed and shared by many. Her inspiration comes form her relationships with nature, with Source and her soul mentoring with her clients across the globe. She also is a Body Image Coach and has helped many women find a healthy relationship with their bodies. She welcomes you to visit her on Facebook, Twitter and Tumbler. To learn more about what Lisa is up to visit her website, WomenWithInsight.
Editor: Alicia Wozniak